Newness surrounds me

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It was August 24, 2012, a Friday evening. It was only 2 days before my 40th birthday and nothing in the world seemed “right”. I was working at the new restaurant, settling in to their evening routines. My daughter was due home from her summer break at her dad’s on the day of my birthday and I had yet to reach any calmness or quiet in my soul.

The few weeks of vacation I had granted myself had brung me out into the world to inhale the fresh salt air of the last weeks of summer. Instead of lying in my bed, hiding under the cover, begging the Lord to take my pain: I decide to lay poolside or ocean side, hiding behind a magazine or a novel, if my pain was going to diminish any, I needed to be tan right?

During my daily 22 feet walks to the pool, I begun to build an acquaintanceship with one of our condo’s security guards. She was 30, had separated from her husband in November 2011 and was raising three children on her own. We didn’t have much in common, but she touched my heart with her story and plight, reminding me of my former single life, when I was in my late 20’s raising three kids on my own. I would invite her over to my condo, during her breaks, or on her days off, what would it hurt to begin creating new friendships? Said security guard had a much different prospective on life than I did. She was angry over her separation, still desperately wanting her husband to return home: in turn, her anger was projected by placing herself, overwhelmingly, into the dating world. This woman had over 30 personal ads with internet websites: was communicating with so many men, she had code names for them so not to confuse who they were: and threw herself at anything that walked on two legs and was male. I, as you know, was her total opposite: I was a recluse in my misery, isolated by my choosing, I was not ready for any interaction with a man, ever a simple “hello” overwhelmed me. This boggled her mind. She could not fathom why I would drown myself in misery and began to encourage me to “put myself out there.”  Many times, without my permission, she would share my phone number or approach men and drop the hint that I was single. Her interference in my hibernation mode offered a much-needed bit of humor to my mentality, though I still was not ready. There was something in my heart that was weighing me down: a feeling in my belly that I could not rid.

That Friday evening, I ventured to work, and my husband’s affair was brought to my attention. (see The Truth is set free) After work, some of my co-workers encouraged me to stay and share in a few celebratory birthday cocktails since I would not return to work until after my birthday. The conversation was light, no one brought the husband’s affair back up that evening, and sitting with those women, it suddenly struck me, I belonged there. In that moment, that very evening, it was my fate to be in that place, with those women and just that quick, my soul began to let go.

I drove home, not looking forward to the weekend, but not suffering from the “Oh my goodness, I am going to be 40” doldrums either. I crawled into my bed, pulled the covers over my head and for the first time in months, fell into a peaceful deep sleep.

Around 3 a.m., I am awakened from my peaceful slumber by Kelly Clarkson‘s, What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. my favorite ring-tone. I fight the sleep gremlins off my back, reach to my phone, and do not recognize the number on display. I do what any sensible person would do and pull the covers over my head looking for that peaceful sleep that someone just ripped me from. Again, Kelly Clarkson blasts through the sound waves, again, I do not recognize the number. After I ignore the call for the second time, my mind is not as foggy from sleep and I realize I have text messages. The first message says “Look outside your window”, then “We are here”, and lastly, “open your door”. What the????

I stumble out of my bed, gently pull my blinds open, enough to peer out but not enough for anyone to see in, and to my surprise, there are two men outside my balcony. I recognize them to be employees of the landscaping company that maintains our condos property. (My lady security guard and I had spent hours sitting on my balcony watching these gentleman break a sweat, in the summer sun, with their landscaping tools. You get the picture!)  I am afraid of what is about to happen as I peer out my window, but there is lightning flashing in the background, a summer storm on the horizon, and I simply cannot leave them sitting there.  I slowly open my balcony door, step out into the humid summer air and suddenly, my balcony is rushed with a horrid rendition of “Happy Birthday to you”. It is so terrible, I cannot help but squeal in delight and clap my hands like a kid.

Against my usual rigid demeanor, I invited these two gentleman in, the storms were moving in and the thunder was rumbling in the background.

That evening, brought an unfamiliar ease and peace. I sat with these two strangers, in my home, at 3 in the morning: there was a steady flow of conversation and laughter. Around 6 a.m., the summer storms passed, we ventured out to my condo’s over look deck and watched the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean. Reluctantly, after having breakfast together at the famous golden arches, I drove them home and our short evening ended.

Sunrise in my backyard

Sunrise in my backyard

It was my birthday eve, 8 a.m., and I could not go back to sleep. My mind kept going over the details of the last 5 hours. Two random men, at the urging of my security guard friend, had walked three miles down the beach, to come to my balcony and serenade “Happy Birthday” to me, JUST BECAUSE THEY COULD and wanted to make my day special. No one in history, had made me feel so important on my birthday than these two gentlemen. That was sad in a bittersweet way!

Around lunch, my son arrived and my girlfriend and her son showed. We walked to my old condo’s establishment (next door) and sent the afternoon lounging pool-side, enjoying the water slide and sipping a few beers. That evening, a group of other girlfriends were meeting me out at our local beach front tavern for a 40th party. That night, after returning home from a GREAT time, I came home to find my condo door and balcony decorated by my neighbors. What had I done to receive such attention?

My son crash landing at the bottom of the waterslide.

My son crash landing at the bottom of the waterslide.

My birthday morning came and the day was supplied with my children’s arrival home, we spent the afternoon lounging ocean side, and enjoying the end of August weather. Again, we arrived back at the condo to find gifts adorning my door handle: a boa, earrings, “fabulous and 40” pin and a princess tiara, all gifts from my neighbors. I sat and cried. Never had I been showered with such attention, at least not since my childhood when my Grandmother and I would share one birthday party and everyone would bring me a gift too! I could not fathom why these people found my presence special, why they wanted to celebrate my day with me. They were new in my life, not knowing anything about me, but yet they were willing to go out of their way to make my day a happy one.

Then, like an epiphany moment, it was the first time in a very long time that I realized….I am worthwhile. I am worth attention: I am worth being happy: I am worth living for. That day, my healing process began!

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Suddenly Single – Who am I?

I believe in Karma and the old adage “Everything happens for a reason.” I also believe in the silly old saying “when one door closes, another one opens.” Sometimes, we spend too much time looking at the door that has closed to realize the one that has opened.

By May 2012, I awoke to find myself in shock and terrified. I had always prided myself on being a strong person, an independent woman, who had walked through many disasters in my life with pride and determination. Suddenly, I could barely find the energy to crawl out of the bed in the mornings. I had no desire to move, eat, sleep, cry, talk, or even live. Everything I had ever believed in was proved to be a faux pas, I had no faith in anything. I did not want to look in the mirror, I did not like the image that was looking back at me. My soul had been shattered, to the core, and I had no idea how to begin to piece it all back together. Surely, I had to be the only person experiencing this pain and isolation, which only encouraged me to isolate more. I was embarrassed, ashamed, I felt worthless and unloved, unworthy of love. I felt like a failure, period.

The feeling was one of being kidnapped by aliens and finding myself living on another planet, in another dimension, with no hopes of being returned home.

To the ripe age of 39, my life had been spent focusing on others and ignoring myself. I touched on my childhood in an earlier post. My parents divorced young and I was raised by my Grandparents. At the age of 12, my mother became tired of the badgering from her friends at not raising her own child, she removed me from my Grandparents home and we relocated a half hour away in a neighboring town. My mother was an alcoholic and has suffered mental issues since finding her Father dead when she was 14 years old. Most of my adolescence was spent sitting up most of the night, waiting for her to come home, so I could pour her into bed safely and run off any of the stray men that were lapping at her heels, hoping to take advantage of her in her drunken state. By 15, this had become a tiresome routine for me, I moved out of my mothers home, in with a friend and her mom. By the age of 16, I was living with my first husband and his family: at 17 I became pregnant with my oldest son, 18 with my second and at age 22 I was pregnant with my third and last child, my baby girl. Other than my brief time as a single mother of three children, I had always taken care of a husband and even in that single phase of my life, my children were small and offered a lot of distractions.

In an instant, I was 39, my two sons were both off into their adult careers with the United States Air Force: my daughter was son to be 18 and in her last year of high school, and then there was me. Who was I? Who was this person that I was waking up with every morning and spending everyday trying to get to know?

In my ten-year marriage, I was able to drown out the sounds of my thoughts and beliefs with a distraction of an orderly and daily routine. I would arise in the morning, get my children up for school/work, make the hubby breakfast, head into work, drive home planning dinner for tomorrow in my mind, arrive home to chaos, dinner needed to be ready, homework needed to be completed and there was ALWAYS something that needed to be cleaned: evening hours were spent tidying the kitchen, preparing everyone’s lunch for the next day and by 9 p.m. I would fall face down in the bed, exhausted. Weekends were spent with distractions as well, the usual motherly/wife duties of feeding everyone breakfast, lunch and dinner: laundry, cleaning: but my hobbies were home repair and working in my yard. The home we owned was nestled on a two acre lot in a beautiful sub-division, and it was with pride that my yard was immaculate year round.

Now, I was waking to an empty bed and teetering around an empty, much too quiet condo. Once I found the energy to muster out of the bed, I would find a cup of coffee and move to my balcony area for much-needed breathing space. The summer months were in full force and the tourism in our area was booming. I would sit on my balcony, watch mindlessly as the multitudes of families either arrived for their summer vacation or were awakening to spend another gleeful, cookout, yelling by the pool, “day in paradise.” unfortunately, for too long, I never noticed the breathtaking view from my balcony: I did not see the indoor/outdoor swimming pools on the property, along with the miniature golf course, the water slide, tennis courts, hot tub, etc. All I saw were happy families just out of my reach. I would stare, with tears streaming down my face, as the husbands/wives unpacked their minivans of their supplies for the week, as their lot of children ran gleefully in circles, squealing with excitement. I would watch the bathing suit clad couples, as they walked hand in hand, down the boardwalk for their morning/evening beach stroll and many nights, I would sit and listen as groups of people would emerge from their condos for an outdoor bar b que and a night game of volleyball. It never occurred to me that I could simply leave my condo and join them. At that phase in my life, I did not see the new world that was available to me and waiting for my taking. What I saw was a life that was no longer mine – I was a failure, the happiness that exuded from those families, used to be mine. Now I had nothing: nothing to offer, nothing to share. I was consumed with heartbreak and loneliness.

How was I going to make it? What was my belief system? How could I live my life with pride and integrity when I had participated in an immoral and unjustified extra marital affair?

Those were the big questions: the little questions were not simple either. What were my interests? Who was the person walking around inside this body called me? Do I like chocolate or vanilla ice cream? sweets or salty snacks? cats or dogs? What was my favorite color?

I can honestly tell you, I walked around for the entire summer of 2012 on auto pilot, stuck in this limbo. Nothing felt normal, or right, or human. Even the smallest activities, such as cooking dinner, created a large amount of stress for me. I began to wonder if anything would ever be “normal” again. Would I ever be able to spend a full day without crying? Would there ever be a time that I would find myself laughing? Would I ever awaken again, with peace in my heart?

It wasn’t until my 40th birthday, at the end of August, that life finally began to move forward and I was able to begin the journey of answering those questions.

 

The view from our balcony,

The view from our balcony,

The condo we rented. I never noticed the wet bar, until I just downloaded this photo off of the realtors web site. How did I not notice a wet bar?

The condo we rented. I never noticed the wet bar, until I just downloaded this photo off of the realtors web site. How did I not notice a wet bar?

The truth is set free

It was the end of July when I left the restaurant/nightclub where I had been employed for the summer. That was the first big decision that I had made in my single life: the money was good, the hours were reasonable, but I just did not fit. I was 39 and had spent the last ten years of my life in a professional setting with a respectful career. Returning to waitressing was an option I was forced into, but I could no longer allow myself to lower my standards and work with the types of people I were. The bar owner was in his 50’s, a horrid pervert and had spent the summer making lude and rude comments to me. My co workers were almost all in their 20’s: young, single and stupid. A couple of the bartenders had been caught prostituting out of the bathrooms – yes, you read that correctly, and two of the cooks had been arrested on premises for selling drugs out of their vehicles. Gossip was rampant, drama dominated and once I received my back pay, I knew I had to begin breaking away from the things that were bringing me down and holding me back from my authentic self. No matter how great my income, I could not allow myself to be associated with the people anymore, so I quit.

That was a huge decision to make at that point in my life. Here I was, 39, suddenly single, raising a 17-year-old daughter on my own. My career was over, my earlier beautiful home was no longer mine, and it was up to me and only me to make our lives manageable, was being unemployed really a smart move?

The day my daughter left for her dad’s for three weeks, I crawled into a cocoon in my bed and just laid there. I quieted the world, my heart, my soul and my mind, and just breathed. I did not think, eat, drink or move for two solid days. I slept like I was in a coma. Finally, I mustered the courage to step outside my door, walk the 50 feet to the ocean, and lay still in front of heaven. How had I spent the entire summer and had barely walked out my door? My condo complex is directly on the ocean and has an outdoor pool. In my depressive, isolated state, I had not allowed myself to see any of these amenities surrounding me. I was in self destruct mode for way too long.

Everyday after, I would arise early, walk to the beach, and bronze myself while I allowed the motion of the ocean to soothe my soul. I had forgotten how soothing the ocean was for my heart during my first divorce. After my first husband and I had separated, I had relocated to the beach and spent every day I could find with my soul mate, the Atlantic Ocean. I had been so damaged and destitute I had failed to realize the healing waters lapping at my back door.

August was destined to be a horrid month for me, the 17th would have been my 10th wedding anniversary and later that month would be my 40th birthday. I was determined to make it ok. I began making myself walk outside my doors and associate with my neighbors and those around me. I had noticed our maintainance man when I moved into the condo in June, but suddenly, I really noticed that he was a nice looking guy. I met my neighbors on either side of me, a couple in their 70’s one the right and on the left was their daughter and her husband who were in their 40’s. It was small talk, but I was making steps to make my life my own. I was too embarrassed and ashamed to tell them much about myself, other than that my daughter and I were living there, that was all I could manage. We had a security guard on premises who was in her 30’s, after speaking with her a few times, discovering she was a single mom as well, we made plans to have a girls night out. I was terrified. Would people tell my ex they had seen me in a bar? How would people react to my presence, especially those who had discovered the affair with R. through the locals gossip mill? I literally did not want to leave my home, but forced myself out into the world.

I began the task of putting in applications again, I was drawing unemployment, but it would not be enough to sustain my daughter and I’s small, sheltered lifestyle. Around the middle of August, I was offered a position with a restaurant just a few miles down the road, on the island, but with a higher quality clientele and rating. I was not eager to wait tables again, but it was the option I was given and beggars cannot be chooser. The first night I was there, I knew I had made the right choice in accepting the job. My co workers were more age proper and the customers in the restaurant were of the professional quality that I was used to living my life around. It was embarrassing to be my age and be a waitress, but I was surviving.

Things sound easy at that point, but they were not. I could not shake the unsettled feeling in my soul. There was something gnawing at my existence that I could not pinpoint or put my finger on. My tenth anniversary came, I asked off of work that day and I laid in my bed and cried for my marriage. Inside my mind lingered a desire for my husband to call, to want to see me, to miss me as much as I missed him on our day, but in my heart was the knowledge that he was moving forward with his life, and though I am sure he recognized the day, we were dealing with it in two different manners. The days continued, my 40th birthday was on the horizon. My birthday was on a Sunday, Saturday I had requested off to be with some friends who were going to take me out to celebrate, that Friday night, two days before my birthday, I was at work. My co workers and I were hanging out in the wait staff section, participating in general chit chat. By bosses daughter was in her 30’s and was honestly, one of the noisiest people I had ever met. She had been asking tons of questions about my marriage, separation, etc. and until that evening, I had been able to keep her at bay. On this particular night, she was on Facebook on the computer in our section, she asked if my ex had a facebook page, I reluctantly told her yes, she asked to see him, I opened his Facebook page and the entire room fell silent. My bosses daughter and two other waitresses were standing, looking at my ex husbands photo, in complete silence. They all began to look at each other, my bosses daughter asked one of the waitresses to go and get the head waitress to see his photo. She then began to tell me, my ex husband had been a regular client of theirs for almost two years. He had dined at least twice a week, for two years, with a woman in her late 20’s. They always sat in a dark corner of the restaurant, away from others, and spent “quality” time together. She told me to hold my breath, Nicole was the waitress they always requested and Nicole could either confirm or deny that it was officially my ex. Nicole came around the corner, not knowing that this was a photo of my ex, when my bosses daughter asked her who that was, she confirmed that my ex had had an affair with this woman, in the same restaurant that I was now employed, for almost two years. The room was silent, my heart stopped, but I felt nothing. I quietly walked out and went back to work. As the evening passed, more information was revealed, and suddenly, that feeling in my soul and the gnawing in my belly were gone. You see, in that one minute of revelation, everything made sense.

My husband and I had returned to the area exactly two years before, it was a month into our settling in that I crashed and my alcohol abuse, previously explained in a former post, had happened. Soon after, my husband began to take extra nights of duty at his work, using the excuse that his work was located over an hour away, he would simply stay at his work establishment for two nights every three days. I could never understand his absence and lack of affection when I lost my friend, when I was abusing alcohol, and the days after. I knew that there were evenings he was suppose to be at work, that I could not get him to answer the phone, but in the career industry we were both in, that was not unusual and gave me no reason to suspect any infidelity. In the days since the show of my affair, my friends were mind boggled at how quickly he walked away, seemingly unhurt and unscathed by my infidelity. They were lost his coldness towards my children and his lack of affection or compassion for them. Suddenly, it all made sense. Just as a confirmation to the information they had shared, my bosses daughter went and collected the credit card receipts for the previous six months, surely enough, four times in from February to July there was a copy of my husbands credit card receipt, his signature and dinner for two, the same dinner and drinks each time, had been purchased. I kept each one. After all the damage he had put on my name in society, the guilt he had laid on my heart, and the coldness he had offered for two years, I finally knew why, he had had an affair of his own, the entire time!

The summer of 2012

Though I had obtained employment and was functioning in society as a human, nothing in my life felt human. I would awake every morning with the realization that I was in another life, one that I wasn’t sure was my own anymore.

I was at rock bottom, devastated, destroyed and aggressively looking for any rational reasoning that I had found myself in this situation. I over analyzed everything. I spent hours upon hours scanning every minute of my 10 year marriage: hours upon hours relieving the affair with R., the times together, the things that we said. I knew I deserved everything that was happening in my life, I had created this mess by making the wrong choices: I was lying in the bed that I made for myself. and that my friends, was a horrible feeling.

I waited every day for someone to save me from myself. I could not let either my husband or my lover go, my heart could not face that I was unloved and unimportant to either of these men. I felt used, nasty, disgusting and worthless.

I threw myself into my silly waitressing job, but it was just what I needed at that point in my life. Living in a tourist area, summer is the opportune time to be in a place as such. My worries over my bills were drifting to the way side, but I had no clue how to continue on. Nothing in my life was normal or functional. I began my job a week before Mothers Day weekend. My youngest son was settling into life in TX at basic training, my oldest son had just graduated basic and was stationed in MS for tech school, my daughter gave all appearances to be fine with our current situation and her life was continuing on, as normal. Mothers day came, my first ex husband was traveling with his family to Atlanta, GA to deliver my oldest sons car to him. My daughter wanted to travel with her Dad to see her brother that weekend and I gladly let her go. I needed that break, I needed those few days to just breathe.

Mothers Day I worked a double shift, I volunteered too. I knew the money would be worth it and my mind would be distracted from my life. That day, was one of the hardest in my memory. Families were coming in to treat the moms in their life a dinner out. Husbands were taking out wives, children were taking out their moms and I was surrounded with these “happy” families. I hated every one of them, I did not have that happy family, to be honest, I don’t think I ever did. I drove home around 8 p.m., my cell phone had not so much as vibrated or rang all day. I was forgotten, my kids did not call, my husband did not call, I was simply a woman alone in the world. I walked into the condo, in the dark, went into my medicine cabinet, removed every med I had known to man, and laid on the couch in the dark while my world crashed. It had been a few weeks coming, I had maintained my strength and my dignity for my children for so long, the emptiness in my home and my heart crashed around and I cried for hours for everything that I had lost, for everything that I never had. I made a decision, at that moment, to take my own life. I had hurt everyone around me, including myself, by my own hand: no one would miss me and the world would be better without me. I looked to ceiling and out loud commanded God to give me a reason to live, to stop me from what I was about to do. Two seconds later, my cell phone rang. It was my youngest son, calling from basic training. He had only been enlisted for two weeks and new trainees are not usually granted phone privileges for the first month. I answered the phone and proceeded to listen to my baby boy tell me happy mothers day, how proud he was of me, how much he loved me and how he was worried about me. He did not have long to talk but he will never realize what that ten minute phone call did for me that night. My son saved my life, he will never know that, but he stopped me from taking my life. I heard the words he was saying, I felt them in my heart and I knew I had to move forward, not only for myself, but for my children. I had to make our lives normal again and I needed to be the woman that he was describing to me in that conversation. I hung up the phone and again was crying, but for different reasons, I fell to my knees and thanked God for that phone call and for my three beautiful children. I promised God and myself that I would never consider suicide again, I placed the pills in the toilet and I pulled myself up by my boot strings.

The month lease on the condo was due to expire May 22, by May 15th, things were not looking well. I had phoned every real estate company in the area, searched every news paper, and was finding nothing available in my price range. I had no furniture, it was all in my husbands home still. All we owned were the clothes in our closet and the few items I had placed in the car the day I left my home. On May 16th I found an ad in the paper for a furnished condo in the units beside of us, I phoned, I was the first caller. That week, I met with the real estate agent three times. I passed the credit check and background check and though I had supplied great references, the landlord was hesitant on allowing a single mom of a 17 year old into his home. After the three meetings, the real estate agent reluctantly offered me a lease, she could find no reason not to. There was one issue, the lease did not begin until June 1, I needed to be out of the current condo by May 22. I phoned the real estate company that managed the current condo, again gave them my situation, to which they phoned the owners who were willing to allow me to stay until June 1. Times were tough, everything felt like a battle, but I was surviving.

June 1, I packed my daughters and my belongings into my car, drove to work, worked a double shift and at 10 p.m. that evening, my daughter and I were moving our things into our new home. The lease was signed for a year. It was a fully furnished condo with an ocean view, just what we needed.

A few days later, my husband emailed me to tell me my personal belongings were in storage. Until that point, he had no contact with me, it wasn’t until I threatened a lawsuit that he willingly returned what was rightfully mine. The day I drove to the storage unit and saw my grandmothers china cabinet, my hope chest that was a gift for my 16th birthday and my dads antique sewing machine, I cried with relief. It was so nice to see something that was “mine”.

The days came and went, my life was still on autopilot. I was dropping weight, I could not get the hurt to stop, my heart was forever aching and broken. I maintained a daily schedule for my daughter and I but I put up barriers in my world. I did not look at men, go near men or even begin to think of dating again. I did not talk with my co-workers, I never told them a thing about myself and I spent hours on the phone with my best friends simply crying.

My friendships began to struggle. I have been blessed with a few of the very best friends in the world, but I could tell they were becoming increasingly frustrated with my lack of moving forward. I could never make them understand or realize how devastated my life and heart were.

At the end of June, I relied on a my dependable credit card to supply at trip to TX to watch my youngest son attain his dream and graduate into the United States Air Force. My daughter went with me and for the first time in months, for two short days, everything felt normal. We all spent time together celebrating my son. I returned home and again, locked myself into isolation. I was terrified of everything people, emotions, reality.

My husband never attempted to contact me again. He placed my items in storage, ignored my emails or calls and never looked back. Word around town was he was dating already, he had repainted the entire town house, was seen out on the town laughing and partying with friends, meanwhile, my life was spent hiding from everyone and everything!

In July, my best friend booked a trip to spend the week with me. She lived in Memphis and I was excited to spend some much-needed girl time with one of my greatest supporters. She came into town and was surprised at the woman that she found waiting for her. Expecting to find the old me, I think I broke her heart when she walked into the life of a distraught and devastated soul. It was hard for her to wrap her mind around the person I was. Though I could keep up the appearances on the outside, what was inside was not pretty. We had a few huge fights while she was in town, fights that were needed and opened my eyes to my life and what I was doing to myself. We had been friends for many years, through divorces and marriages and child raising, etc. She was surprised at how much damage R. had done to my heart and told me so. She was livid at the woman he had made me, at the woman I had allowed him to make me.

After she returned home, I began to analyze the truths that she had brought to the forefront and I realized one thing was right, I had allowed these men to decide my fate and who I would become, that power was no longer going to be theirs to have. Over the three months that R. and my husband had vanished from my life, I had convinced myself I was unlovable, undeserving of love and had made sure to place those barriers for no one to get in. The truth was, I deserved so much more than I have ever received, I deserved to believe in me again. My 11 years that had been spent with dedication and devotion to my husband were never real. He never loved me, never believed in me and had worked hard to make me believe I was nothing without him and the sad part was, I did believe that. The months that I had spent devoted to R. were also a sham. He was never in love with me, never had any intentions of leaving his wife or being a person in my life, I had sacrificed everything, for a fantasy. Neither of those men were going to have any say over my present or my future, I made that decision.

My job was bogging me down, my life was going nowhere and I knew what I needed to do. I quit the waitressing place, after battling for unemployment, I had received a back pay check for the time I had not been employed, this granted me the option of taking a few weeks off, gathering my thoughts and finally moving forward with me life.

My daughter went to spend the last weeks of summer with her Dad, she had worked all summer at a local pizza place and wanted a small vacation of her own. With the timing of all that was happening, I agreed. My home quiet, my bills paid, and the end of summer upon me, I spent the first week, alone, in my condo, not leaving my bed, but allowing my heart to begin to heal.

The apocalypse of my soul

My kids left that morning and the strength I had maintained through the evening came crashing down, the reality of the situation hit me hard, hard enough to take the breath out of my lungs. I remember laying on the couch and crying until I could cry no more. What was I going to do now?

I packed my small sedan with as much of my personal belongings as I could fit. A few boxes of clothes, my favorite photos of my family, my jewelry box, etc. and I drove across the bridge to the island. I sat in my packed car, staring out over the ocean, still crying, unable to function. embarrassingly enough, it was the end of April and the warmer weather was bringing out the tourists, a tourist walked past my car and was concerned enough about my condition to not stop and ask if I was ok, but to call the police instead. I can only imagine what that scene must have looked like to the two young officers that pulled in beside my car. Here I am, belongings piled to the roof, barely enough room for me to sit in the driver’s seat is remaining, my hair all over my head, not having had a shower in 36 hours and my eyes swollen almost shut. The officer gently knocked on my window, a look of sympathy all over his face, I explained my situation, he told me I did not have to go home, but I did have to leave the public parking area as I was “scaring” people. He pulled out, I phoned my best friend in desperation of what to do. She knew about R., this was one of the friendships that I had resurrected over the last few years, and gratefully so. She was horrified at the news but was able to offer a listening sympathetic shoulder and some stability to my unstable mind. I drove back across the bridge, to a sound front parking lot that was private and we talked for almost an hour. She is a magistrate in a neighboring county and she told me to go back to the town house and not leave, her concern was his legal rights on obtaining the home by stating I abandoned him. I drove back to our home, he was not there yet, pulled the blinds and laid on the couch and slept for hours. I awoke to his keys in the door, by this time it was around 3 in the afternoon. I sat up on the couch, th events of the last 24 hours still an overwhelming blur and the anger on his face when he looked at me was enough to let me know I could not stay there and be safe. In just a matter seconds I was up, keys in hand, and back out in my car. My husband never said a word to me nor did he attempt to stop me. I again, called my friend and let her know what I was doing. She encouraged me to find a hotel room, isolated somewhere, and get some rest. I didn’t have much money in my account but interestingly enough, for no valid reason, I had applied for a credit card a few months earlier and had been granted one with a 5,000 credit limit. I found a hotel on the island, at a descent rate, checked in, lugged all my personal belongings into the room, called my friend, then drug myself across the street to the local ABC store. I phoned my children to make sure they were ok and to let them know I was ok, attempted on several more occasions to call R. and finally passed out in a drunken heart-broken stupor.

I awoke the next morning to a text from my husband. He was worried about the kids and I and told me I could come home. I texted him back and told him we would return on Sunday, I had paid for two nights at the hotel, the kids were not due back until Sunday anyway, and I, did not see a reason for us to be alone together Saturday night. I knew R. was due to be on call for the weekend, so I texted his work phone with the address of the hotel and the room number followed by 911. I sat for hours waiting for his call, none came. Unable to sit inside the hotel room anymore, I went down to the beach and begin to walk and walk and walk, before I realized it, I had walked over 3 miles lost in thought. I turned and headed back to the hotel, was disappointed to find no news from R. or my husband. Realizing I had not eaten in two days, I headed to my car to find something digestible. As I was driving down the road, heading to the local golden arches, what to my wondering eyes does seem but R.’s landscaping truck. I see him and his employee’s silhouette in the windows and I begin to follow him. He sees me, signals me to follow him and we drive towards his friends shop. His trailer is attached and I can tell it has a heavy item in it. We pull behind his friend’s garage, he comes and sits in my car with me. He tells me after my husband phoned him, he became frightened for his own safety, so he packed an overnight bag, and drove the two hours to where his wife was located with her family. He said she was upset he showed unexpectedly, but that weekend was his step sons birthday, so he used that as an excuse and they had stayed Friday night as well , to throw him a party. He explained he could not call, due to her family being around him constantly, and once he received my text on Saturday and had returned to our area, he had driven non stop through the parking lot of the hotel. He was in the process of delivering his truck to his friend’s garage, he said he used the excuse it needed repairs but he knew it was a matter of time before my husband called his wife and he wanted as much off her property as possible before that happened. He was in a hurry to get back home before red flags were raised, so we stepped out of my car and talked while he was unloading the truck from the trailer. Just beside his friends shop was a small brick home, the resident of the home pulled into the parking lot and was unable to get to her drive due to my car being in the way. I went to my car, moved it out of her way, and was completely horrified when I returned to R. to find him deep in a flirtatious conversation with the young woman of the house. I stood in awe as she flipped her hair, asked questions about his truck, stuck out her chest and batted her eyelashes: R.’s response was to jump into the truck, start it, offer her a ride, and partake in flirty banter. I know the tension and anger was blowing off of my chest because R.s employee glanced my way, then made a quick retreat back to the passenger side of the truck and the conversation was ended when Ms. Busty Boobs glanced my way and read my body language. Interestingly enough, R. never seemed to notice. I should have known that weekend, by his tucking his tail between his legs and running, as well as his need to carry on that particular conversation in my time of devastation, that R. was not going to stand by my side, but unfortunately, I didn’t. R. left with a promise to call me the next morning, as he was going to open his wifes store for her, so she could spend time with her family. Ummmm…thanks!

That evening, I phoned my husband, we had a short but mature conversation, and he told me I could come home, with my kids, and we would talk about what was going to happen from there. I crawled into the hotel bed, hopeful for a positive outcome from all of this. Early Sunday morning, my hotel phone rang, and I jumped from my bed, knowing it would be R. He was at their store, had worried about me all evening and was glad to hear I was ok. I told him about my conversation with my husband and he became angry. He did not feel it was a safe environment for me to return to and selfishly, he did not want me to go back. I explained, at that point, I had no other option. My son was due to leave for the USAF in one short week, my daughter had a few weeks left in her junior year of high school and I had no money to be able to get any housing at that point. Customers began to come into his store around that time and he explained he could not talk but would call me back. After I hung up the phone, my cell phone had died the previous evening, I plugged it into the charger, and was horrified to find a message from my husband telling me I was not allowed back into the home, he did not feel it would be a good idea. I phoned him that morning and was horrified for him to tell me my kids and I were not welcomed. I asked what brought about this change of heart and he refused to tell me. I asked where he had been the night before and he informed me he had been at his friend’s home, a highway patrolman house, a friend that never liked me and never treated me well. I knew, at that moment, he was allowing others to make his decisions for him and I told him so. He became irate, began his usual tirade of informing me of my low life status, all this was my fault and the insults flew over the phone. He stated he would be out of the home all day, if I needed to stop in and pick up anything, but he did not want to be anywhere near me….and that was it.

It was 10 a.m., housekeeping was beating on my door, checkout had been at 9. I had phoned the kids the night before and told them to come home. Other than my credit card, I had no money, and I was due back at work the next day at 8 a.m. R. had offered NO support, I was lost, destitute and had no idea how to begin to do anything, even function. I checked out of the hotel, was crossing the parking lot, and I see R.’s car pulling in. He pulls up with a smile, rolls down his window, and senses my mood. I explain my conversation with my husband and tell him of my circumstances. He offers no help, has no advice, only tells me he has to go and he will call me later. I look on the passenger side seat and there sits two hot to go plates from the diner down the street. I knew then, that his wife had arrived at her work and he had only came out to get her breakfast. He follows my gaze, looks guilt ridden and offers me one of the breakfasts! (really) I decline, tell him not to worry, though I have not eaten in three days, I need no one to take care of me, I begin to walk to my car, he slowly rolls up his window, and drives back to his wife.

I packed my car with my belongings, drove to the local coffee shop, purchased a small coffee and slowly sipped it while borrowing two hours of free internet. I searched every real estate site in the area, being we lived in a beach community, there were plenty of weekly or monthly rentals available on their web sites. The issues became obvious, this was April 22, peak season began May 1, if a place was available for rent, it was an extreme amount of money for simply one week and the monthly rentals were set to end on May 1 and become weekly rentals. The available long-term rentals I was able to find were all the same. They needed a completed credit application, rental application and background check before they even gave you the option to rent. I was in no place to even consider the option of a long-term rental. I was dismayed with every phone call, at the denial and rejection I felt. The rain moved in outside, the temps began to drop, and my mood was worsening every minute. Tired of me mooching their internet and only purchasing a 1.50 glass of coffee, the owners of the coffee shop began eyeing me down. I packed up my computer, threw away what was left of my undrank cup of coffee, and somehow returned to my car. I drove to the base of the high-rise bridge that enters the island and considered suicide. I looked around me, my belongings piled high, nowhere to go, no one to talk to and knew that I had one of two choices, end it all now or battle it through and not let this break me. I began to think of my kids, of my sons strength and desires to serve in our military, of my daughters last year of high school, and i knew I had to fight.

While I was at the coffee shop, I had phoned a real estate company in reference to a monthly rental, the woman on the opposite end of the phone was sympathetic and compassionate. I had explained my situation to her and she was saddened to tell me she could only offer me the one week until May 1. I was touched by the compassion in her voice and felt compelled to call her again. I phoned again, asked if she could contact the land lords and see if they would be sympathetic to my place and allow me to rent their condo until May 22. She obliged, phoned back within five minutes and happily told me they had agreed. I was parked directly across the street from the real estate company and made no hesitation at rushing in their office and paid for the next month. I drove to the condo and was excited to find a two bedroom, fully furnished, beach front home, in a resort who’s amenities included two pools, one indoor/one outdoor, a basketball court, miniature gold course, and a security gate with a guard present . I was so elated, this would be perfect for my sons last week at home, I could present it more as a vacation and that would distract his mind from what was really happening. As for my daughter, school would be out June 6, we had a month to stay at the said condo, that should give me enough time to secure a long-term rental and have a little stability before the summer arrived.

I ventured to the condo, unpacked my belongings from the car, took a nice hot shower, phoned my kids with the details and address and headed to the grocery store to stock the kitchen. I was strolling through the deli section when that familiar feeling of electricity coursed through my veins. I rounded the corner and there he was, R., with his little shopping cart, purchasing supper to cook for his wife. I half heartedly attempted to avoid him, but he saw me before I could make my break away. I let him know about the condo, where it was located and the status of my marriage. He seemed relived that I had found a place, even for a short time, but had to rush home, before his wife wondered why he was taking so long.

I cried in the parking lot of Foodlion, on the drive to the condo, and while waiting for the kids to arrive. What had just happened? Was this really my life now? How was I going to even venture another breath?

The affair (part 2)

It was around 10 a.m., that Saturday morning, that I was sitting in the office, in anticipation, when I heard someone’s key turn in the back door lock. I think I quit breathing and my heart slowed to a flutter: imagine my surprise when I see my other male co-worker round the corner. I had done nothing more than spend the morning in anticipation and fear of what was going to happen when R. arrived, but by my response to W.’s arrival, you would have thought something had happened between us already. W. stated he had a few hours worth of work to catch up on and had decided to come in that morning and complete it. My face was flushed, my heart beating rapidly and I could not formulate a full sentence without stuttering or loosing my track of thought. W. looked at me strangely and made his way to the other office. What was going to happen when R. arrived and W. was in the office with us? What was W. going to think when R. showed with no valid reason? Why did I even care, when I had spent the entire morning telling myself that nothing could happen between us and how wrong it was?

At 11:30, W. was still settled in the side office, when I saw R.’s truck turn into the parking lot. Again, my face flushed, my hands began to shake and I was terrified. The back door opened, R. rounded the corner and I truly thought I was going to pass out. He was nicely dressed, nothing special, but a pair of jeans and a dress shirt, a pair of top siders and cologne that sent my hormones into overdrive. He was smiling the sweetest smile and “hello beautiful” came from his lips before I could tell him we had company. W. entered my office, looked surprised at seeing R. there and said “Well hello handsome”. I thought R’s face was going to bounce off of the floor. W. gave both of us an inquisitive look and called R. into his office to show him what he was working on. Twenty minutes passed before I saw R. again, he entered the room with W. on his heels. He mouthed “sorry” while W. wasn’t looking, they both found a seat in my office and we sat around carrying on idle chit-chat for the next ten minutes. R. looked at his watch, it was 12:05, I was due off at 12. W. noted it was past closing time and inquired about why I was still hanging out. I muttered something about a deadline that needed to be met before that afternoon and I would just be a little longer, W. offered to stay with me. R. interjected, told W. to go home with his wife and kids and he would hang out for a bit. W. gave us both a weird sideways glance, said his goodbyes and left for the day.

When it was just R. and I in the building, I was terrified. I could not look at him, be near him, all I wanted to do was run out the door. I knew the things I were feeling, I knew they were not right and I knew I was going to act on those feelings. He slowly rolled his chair across the office beside mine, put his hand on the arm of my chair and asked what we were going to do about this? His face was just a few inches from mine, I could smell his breath mint. His eyes crystal blue, his goat-tee nice and trim, and his lips were calling my name. I turned away as quickly as I could, rolled my chair over a little, and screamed a bit when my cell phone began to ring. I picked it up, just as a distraction and was excited to see it was my oldest son. He had left for the Air Force basic training a month earlier and this was his first phone call to me. I made no explanations to R., answered the phone and began an excited conversation with my son. I paced around the office while I was on the phone and R’s eyes never quit watching me. I quietly whispered it was my son, he tenderly touched my hand and said “I know, I figured that out”. The look in his eyes were so loving, his touch on my hand-made my hairs stand on end and the electricity coursed through my veins, I knew this was not going to end well, I had to touch him, feel him, kiss him. I had to find out just what was happening between us.

My sons phone call lasted longer than it needed to be, not that I was complaining at all. It was almost 1 p.m. before I hung up the phone and R. was getting eager, he had afternoon plans with his wife and friends. We ran around the building, locking it down for the day, and my mind was awash with thoughts of how this was going to happen. I was C.’s wife, he was another womans husband: the guilt overcame me, but not enough to wash out the want. We were walking into the garage, the building door shut behind us and R. was pushing the button to raise the outside door, when I knew what I had to do. I grabbed him by his belt buckles, told him there was something I just needed to know, pulled him to me, and we shared the sweetest most electrifying 5 second kiss of my life. The feelings and emotions were too much, I pushed him away, reached for my belongings, when he grabbed me by my waist and said “now I need to see something”, and pulled me back to him. When the kiss was over, I was breathless. My hands and knees were shaking, I couldn’t focus on anything, and was unsure of what to do next. R. put the garage door up, let me out first, and I could tell he was feeling the same emotions. We never said a word as we were walking to our cars, he opened my car door for me, and I told him I felt that we had just crossed a boundary, never to return. He looked deep in my eyes and agreed. Before I even exited the driveway, he was calling my cell, we talked the way home, again that evening and made plans to meet the next day at a secluded place.

That was the beginning. We met again on Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday, Wenesday…etc. The affair quickly became sexual and quickly progressed into a love that I can never explain to anyone. With us working together 6 days a week, it opened opportunities for us to spend quality time together that we may have not had if the circumstances had been different. We took several long distance road trips together, volunteered for weekends together, etc. It was not just an affair, it was a love affair.

The times we would meet for sex were not just in the back seat of a car, as one would imagine. It would be in discreet places of comfort and we would spend hours together just talking, cuddling, spending our time with each other. For example, he had the key to his neighbors beach home. The neighbor never came down, had recently placed it on the market and had given R. the key to show the home to potential buyers. The house was near his home, which created anticipation on my part, but I agreed to meet him there for an afternoon together. When I arrived he was barefoot, had purchased my favorite bottle of wine, and had a chilled glass in hand waiting for me. He gave me a tour of the gorgeous, never will be in my budget, home. We sat on the back deck with our wine, overlooking the pool, overlooking the ocean and talked for I know hours. We talked about our childhood, our parents, our kids, etc. We shared things that day, that we had never shared with others before. R. stood up, walked me up the three flights of steps, carried me into the bedroom and placed me on the bed. He just stood and stared at me. It kind of made me uncomfortable so I squirmed out of his gaze when he aggressively placed me in a lock hold on the bed, looked me dead in the eye and whispered “I just want to swim in your eyes forever, you are so beautiful. Do you know I can see your soul when I look at you?” And the thing was…I knew he was right. He was the first and only man who had ever looked at me and saw my soul. We made love that day, dressed, and took a long walk on the ocean before returning home. I will never forget the guilt, sadness and isolation that overtook my heart that day. How was it possible that I had met someone so wonderful and he and I both belonged to others? How could something that was making me so happy, be so wrong? And just what were we going to do about it?

As our affair progressed, others at work began to notice something between us and the gossip began. R. never denied anything, much to my chagrin, but instead walked around calling he and I the lovebirds and laughing at others when they would ask what was happening between us. It was as if he wanted everyone to know. I, however, would blow it off and make jokes about R.’s player status. I knew what others in the office thought of him and I played that trump card. With the differences in our responses, this intrigued their curiosity much more. R.’s affections for me soon became a little uncomfortable for my tastes. His antics in the office, sneaking a kiss with a co-worker in the room next door, etc. made me anxious daily. One weekend, we were called in to work together on a Saturday. We had to visit with a neighbor of R’s for business purposes. We took the company Cadillac over, holding hands the entire way. After our visit, we were exiting the drive when R. turned the vehicle in the opposite direction. I knew immediately where he was headed and told him absolutely not. He was driving the direction of he and his wife’s home. He chuckled, told me to stay calm he only would be a minute, and he pulled into his drive. I thought I would rather fall into a hole in the ground when his wife opened the front door and came walking outside. In nervous frustration, I picked up my blackberry and pretended to be texting an invisible someone on the other end. R’s wife came over to my car window, spoke to me and started a conversation on what a nice day it was. How I maintained that conversation, I can not tell you: then to my horror, R. returned to the car, and leaned himself into me in a romantic way, as I was talking to his wife. I could not breathe: and by the way she stuttered a half goodbye, I could tell she sensed something. After we were out of her sight, I began to cry and punched him: yelling what the hell was he thinking, he laughed and told me not to worry about it, she didn’t know anything. I began crying harder, he pulled over on the side of the road, took my hand and began to kiss it, and looked me deep in the eye when he told me he didn’t care anymore who knew, he was proud of me and was not letting me leave his life. I knew at that moment, this was not going to end in a good way, not only were we going to get hurt, but our spouses as well.

R. was perfect, other than his lack of discretion. We never fought, the attraction was nothing I had ever felt before, we told each other everything, and when we were apart, we were both empty inside. We would talk for hours about our marriages and what was going to happen with them. We made plans for me to visit his family in PA, meet his daughters that lived in TX: he wanted to visit my childhood home so he could visualize the place where I had been so happy. etc. but we never finalized plans on just how we were going to make these things happen.

By April, we were telling each other we loved each other, and as wrong as it was, we truly did. I will believe that for as long as I live, no matter what the outcome of our relationship was.

By mid April, things were getting too out of control for my mind. At the end of March I had traveled to TX alone to see my oldest son graduate from Air Force basic training. My husband had refused to go with me, regardless of how many times I begged him to come, citing financial difficulties and not having any time to take off work. From the moment I left to drive to the airport until the moment that I returned home, R. was on my phone. He was texting calling and IM’s photos and wanting me to do the same. The day before I left, he came into work and told me he had a surprise for me in the back seat of my car, but to be very careful. I was excited to leave work that day and was even more so when I found one of his shirts, laden with his cologne, with a note for me to sleep in it at night and we would be close to each other. I stashed the shirt in my suit case and the entire time I was alone in my hotel room ,over my four-day visit, that shirt was on my body. It smelled just like him and when I wrapped it tight, it even felt like him. His wife was always out-of-town on Thursday nights, venturing back to her home town to see her Daughter and Grandson. That Thursday night of my trip, we were on the phone literally the entire night. Talking with R. was so comfortable, the conversation just flowed. The next Tuesday, i returned to work and was a little miffed at R.’s lack of hiding his enthusiasm around our co-workers. More and more people were noticing the attraction between us, even to the point of W. taking R. to lunch and telling him he did not need to know what was happening between us, but R. needed to tame it down before something destructive happened.

Finally, I knew we needed to end it and let things happen in a more natural flow. I took R. to our private meeting place and told him we were over. He cried, held my hand, begged me not to do this. I told him that we had two spouses that were going to be hurt, his response was simply “If they had been good spouses, we would have fallen in love!” I refused to talk about it anymore, bade him to leave and told him that we needed to take care of our marriages and if we were meant to be, it would happen. All night, my phone rang off the hook, to the point of having to place it in silent mode to not alert my husband. By this point in time, my husband was already noticing something himself. He questioned my happiness, I had lost around 20 lbs. and I obviously did not want to spend any time with him, where before I could force a few hours without incident. The next day, we were at work, R. made a huge spectacle in front of our entire staff. We were involved in a business negotiation, when W. leaned over to whisper instructions to me. R. saw this, his face turned beet red and he turned and punched the wall before stomping out of the room. I was shocked, the entire staff was shocked, and everyone looked at me. I had no clue what to do or say. It had only been one day since I ended us and he was this upset already. A few hours passed and I was able to catch R. in a private area outside of work. He was angry that W. had whispered, sad that I thought we needed to be over and he begged for me to tell him why. I told him from my heart how much I loved him, but I could not partake in our affair any longer. I told him that i wanted to be his, fully his. I wanted he and I to be a couple, go out in public together, not have to look over our shoulder during our times of love…I wanted to be his and him to be mine. He told me how much he loved me and he cried. He sat and held my hands, looking my straight in the eye, and cried. He begged for one more night. My husband was out-of-town for business until later in the evening and his wife was out-of-town for a trade show. He said he would take me out to eat, in public, and then he wanted us to go somewhere private and just hold each other. I wasn’t entirely sure about the going out in public together but I agreed to meet him after work at his mother’s house.

His mom’s house was located around 10 miles outside of town, in an isolated area, and it was empty since she had moved in with her boyfriend a few months earlier. R. had ventured down the road and ordered us take out pizza and when I pulled into the drive, my heart just melted. He was standing on the porch, again barefoot (we do live at the beach), but this time there was no wine, only his hands pushed into his pants pockets with the saddest blue eyes I have ever seen. We went inside and could not control our impulses for two minutes. Within a minute we were making the most amazing love, eating some pizza and then showering together, to start all over again. That night was intense. It was as if we knew it would be our “last” night together. The bond between us was amazing but there was an air of holding on just a little too tight.

unfortunately, the time came for me to leave, and I drove home with my head in the clouds. That floating feeling was soon to be ended, as I pulled into the drive and my husband’s car was home. I smelt like his cologne, my chest was still flushed from our last session and my hair slightly damp from our shower. I couldn’t pull out, he saw my headlights in the window and opened the front door for me. I was terrified, what was going to happen? Luckily, my husband was in deep conversation with someone on the cell phone and I was able to rush upstairs and put on my pj’s. I toweled my hair and begged that flushed in love look to go away. When I came back downstairs, you could see him eyeing me, but he never asked a single question.

The next two days, R. was off to help his wife out in their store. Thursday came, the night she was going to be out-of-town. My kids and I were out to dinner together when R. began texting me. My husband was on call and was not going to be home until Saturday. R. was anxious for me to come over and see him, though I knew we needed to end. Text, after text, after text came through and I would not answer. I responded that I was out with my kids, to respect my time with them. My youngest son was due to leave for basic training in a week and a half and I wanted as much time with him as I could. This sent his fear into overdrive, and he began to text and call non stop. Finally, around 6 p.m. everything just suddenly stopped. The kids and I were settled into home around 7 when my world began to crumble. R. phoned and I would not answer, so he called the house. I knew if he were calling my home phone something was wrong, so I answered. My husband had called his phone, leaving messages about whose number this was and why were they screwing his wife? R. sounded terrified and I could not believe what was happening. I told R. there was no way he knew, to which R. played the messages from his cell phone. Around that same time, my husband began calling me. R. yelled over the phone to not tell him anything, deny it all. I calmly answered the phone to which my husband asked me what was going on. I told him I had been at dinner with the kids, just arrived home, and was watching a movie with them. Enough of the games, he said, who are you f&$(ing. I played stupid, as is the first response, then he informed me that he had watched all the activity on my cell phone through his computer and he wanted to know who was the person who had texted me over 100 times in the last two hours. I sat in silence, he demanded an answer and I calmly told him it was R. Once reality hit that I had easily given him the information he was searching for he went into angry terrorist mode. He asked me had we slept together, to which I answered no. He then began yelling he was on his way home and was he arrived, he was going to kill me. No one was going to make a fool of him and if I were smart, I would not call or text R. and not leave the home until he arrived. Hearing the anger in his voice, I knew what he was saying was true. After we hung up, I quickly called R. to let him know I told him at least about our talking. I was not as quick as my husband, he phoned R. and left an aggressive message about ruining his marriage if not killing him as well. R. was livid, he was so angry that I had told my husband whom I had talked to. He began cursing me too and told me to NEVER tell him that we had slept together. I was crying, not sure what had just happened, scared for my life and not knowing what to do next. R. informed me that he would be trashing his pre-paid phone and he would be in touch sometime later, and then he hung up on me.

Fear filled my heart, I knew I had to protect my kids, so I called my son and daughter downstairs, told them I had become emotionally involved with someone else, C. had found out about it, and for their safety, they needed to go to their dads for the weekend. My son was terrified for me, afraid of what C. would do, he refused to leave. I phoned my husband, by that time he had calmed, but he was adamant that he was going to get copies of our texts to each other and once he knew we had slept together, he was going to not only sue us both for alienation of affection but also make sure our careers and R.’s marriage did not make it through. He stated he was not coming home that night, as he knew he would physically hurt me, but would be home after lunch the next day. My son slept with my downstairs that night, every noise we heard, we were awake and looking out the window.

The next morning, I packed my kids as much into their luggage as would fit and sent them driving the hour to their dads home. I was lost, terrified and had no clue what to do. I began to pack my own things, not knowing what would happen at any given minute. I called R. over one hundred times that night and into the next day, it always going into voicemail. I was hurt and dismayed at his lack of concern for my safety, but more so at his anger for me telling the truth. AFter all, wasn’t it he that had just been BEGGING me to end it not a week before this?

The begining of the end

In 2010, Chris and I had been married for 8 years and together for 9. I had graduated college in 2005 and was happily settled into a great career and had been employed with the same company for almost 5 years.

I mentioned in a previous post about my manager at my job, who had become my father figure. In August of 2009, he was fired from his position with our company. The company had found a candidate, who was well-known in the industry, that was moving to our area and they pushed my friend out of the door to make room for this new person. He was distraught, hurt and angry: and rightfully so. The absence of him in my daily work life was extreme, more than anyone can realize. Not having a father in my life for 35 years had taken its toll on my heart and until our friendship formed, I had never realized the benefits of having a patriarch role model. Our friendship continued, but was limited to a few phone calls a week to check in and catch up.

I was more lonely than ever, my daughter just turned 16 and was giving us large amounts of grief. She was sneaking out at night, cutting the screen in her window: had made several attempts to run away, was having unprotected sex, and was a not so typical boy crazy teen-aged girl. Her grades began to drop and her school activities were no longer a part of her life. There was building a distance between she and I, no longer able to be her friend, I was pushed into being the parental hard ass in her life. Chris had no desire in helping me with disciplining her. He was full of negativity and would insult her and I with put downs and criticism. His belief was she was too old to change and would just be worthless her whole life.

2010 came in quiet and sad, I was drunk and passed out and my husband sat in the living room reading his bible.

The isolation in my heart became overwhelming around this time. In January of 2010, we had booked a “family” cruise to Mexico for he, myself and my kids. I can honestly say, this cruise was the true beginning of the end. The kids and I went on adventures together, he sat at the pool, reading his bible and ignoring my requests at us doing things together. There is no need to venture into details, but the last night of the cruise, a huge fight ensued between he and I. I had limited my drinking around my kids, I always did, but I was in full blow out mode that evening and had partaken in quiet a bit of bubbly when my hubby felt the need to call me out on my drinking in front of my kids and a group of random strangers. The night ended with him telling me the 9 years we had been together had been the worst of his life and his biggest regret was marrying trash like myself. I fell asleep, sobbing like a baby, unable to stop the tears or catch my breath, while he lay coldly, isolated beside me on the opposite side of the bed. It was after that trip, that I became numb to his presence and began to live on auto pilot. I no longer was concerned to have his house spotless, his dinner on the table, or making any attempt at being his wife. My heart broke that evening, more than I can ever explain, and his coldness had left me chilled to the bone.

My auto pilot life consisted of barracading any emotions from entering my heart, whether they were for my marriage, my children, friends, etc. My work was my distraction, alcohol my best friend and other than the twice weekly phone calls from my former manager, my life was void of any interaction with others.

In May of 2010, the company that I worked for hired a new manager. The man they choose was bi-polar, manic depressive and suffered from severe mental issues. (of course, they learned this AFTER they hired him.) For whatever reason, from the moment of introduction, he decided he did not like me and was going to find a way to terminate my position. This man harassed me verbally, physically and mentally. He would attempt everyday to find something I was doing wrong and when he could find no wrong he began to force situations in an attempt to make others believe I had committed some horrendous act so he could terminate me. The only person I spoke to about this situation was my former manager. (to refer to him by name, I will call my former manager John) He was livid and without my approval began to make phone calls to attempt to stop this situation from happening in my life. I never spoke to my husband about what was happening in my work, he would only come to the managers defense and tell me I must have done something to deserve that treatment. At the end of May, it all came to a head and human resources was phoned in. Their hands were tied, they had no proof of wrong doing on either of our parts, thought they knew there was something not right about the new manager, and they offered me a demotion or to resign. I submitted my official resignation, with a rehireable status, and a promise from human resources if the manager was relocated or left our company I would have my position back immediately. On the drive home, I phoned John and gave him the news. I was terrified of having to go home and tell my husband of what happened. John was encouraging and supportive and as I pulled in the drive, I knew the words he said were true and everything would be ok.

I sat my husband down at the dining room table and told him what had been happening over the few weeks and what the final outcome was. He was as I thought he would be. Non supportive, critical, demeaning and was in no way supportive. I was a piece of trash that had left my family financially strapped with only one income, there had to be more to the story since I had hidden it from him, and when he learned that I had been talking with John about the situation he was livid. He accused me of having an affair with John and informed me that he was to be out of my life immediately. On this one, I stood my ground. John was 64 and I was 38, he was happily married and I was married. He was a huge support in my life and a role model that I was not going to give up for anyone. My husband did not speak to me for weeks: but he was talking to everyone else. We worked in the same industry and not a week after I resigned my husband attended a trade show in Raleigh. Imagine my horror when I began to receive phone calls from former vendors or sales reps offering their condolences for my being fired from my position. Yes, my beloved, sweet, perfect husband was telling EVERYONE he saw that I had been fired. (remember that this is the same man who did not tell a soul when I was attending school because it was our private business. When I called him out it, he simply responded that they had forced my resignation, that was the same as being fired.

The next two months were horrible. Unemployed, my daughter at her dads for the summer, dealing with an unhappy marriage and no longer having distractions in my life took their toll. I drank everyday, not from dawn to dusk, but around 2 p.m. I would open the bottle and drown my sorrows. The only mainstay I had in my life was John. He and his wife would drive the hour drive to my home to take me to lunch or to bring me smiles. He would phone daily to check on me and made no bones about calling me out on my marriage and my drinking.

In July of 2010, unable to find a job, the manager at my former work still employed, and savings dwindling, the hubby made the decision for us to place our home for rent and return to his hometown, where we had moved from 5 years before. There was no happiness in this news, it was his home where his family lived and his friends were, that meant that I would be even more isolated in everyone would be near and watching my every move. I was helpless and distraught and simply prayed to God for something to happen to change our circumstances. On July 18, we packed two U-hauls trucks full of our belongings and began the two hour journey back to his hometown. On July 17, I had made a four hour road trip to pick up my nieces from the airport. That four hour trip had been spent on the phone with John, crying uncontrollably and contemplating suicide. In his usual fatherly way, John brought his zany sense of humor into the conversation, along with his supportive words and brought me back from the edge. In route to our new home, on July 18, I received one of the most horrifying phone calls of my life, John had suffered a sudden brain aneurism, was being life flighted to another state and was non-reponsive. My mental walls crashed and I lost control of everything. John was on life support and in a coma for two weeks after they aneurism. I waited daily for that phone call that never came. Those two weeks are a blur of half heartedly attempting to put our new home together and sleeping 18 hours a day. I wasn’t drinking, I wanted to be completely sober when he called to tell me things were ok.

On August 4 , 2010, at 6:48 p.m., John died. A close friend of mine phoned to give me the news, I dropped the phone, began screaming, and turned to punch the kitchen cabinet before fainting onto the kitchen floor. When I came to, my husband was standing over me, phone in hand hearing the news himself, examining the kitchen cabinet. He thanked my friend for calling, looked at me on the floor crying uncontrollably and cursed me for damaging “our new home” (it was actually the same townhouse he had lived in when we met) and walked out, leaving me in a heap on the floor. How could God have done this to me? On the very day we were moving, the very day that I was so stressed over, God took the only support I had. I was hurt, in grief, alone, destroyed devastated and hated everyone and everything around me. At 7 a.m. on August 5, I opened a fifth of vodka and never stopped. I would awake from one drunken stupor to begin on the next. I don’t remember much over the next couple of weeks other than having quiet a bit of hangovers. Just before my 38th birthday in August, I decided to drink myself to death. I opened a gallon of vodka at 7 a.m. and by 2 p.m. had drank over half. The next thing I remember, my husband was home at 6 p.m., dragging me down the stairs by my shirt. In a black out, I had ripped the refrigerator door off the hinges, smashed the duck decoys his dad had made, broke any and all pictures that his family were present in and had passed out in my vomit on the bathroom floor. He was livid, I was still drunk and only wanted to sleep. He threw me into the parking lot of our town home, locked the door and left me with no keys, money, and only half dressed. I somehow crawled to the backyard and passed out again. A few hours later, he awoke me again, dragged me to his car, and informed me he was driving me to a rehab center to get help. This was not stated in a supportive I am worried about you manner. It was more like “You have humiliated me and disgusted me beyond belief, I am taking you where they can fix you, don’t call me or come back until you are sober, if I am even here waiting for you then”. By this time it was 2 a.m., I am vomiting everywhere, fighting a horrid headache and wondering why I didn’t die. We live in a small community where there is no rehabilitation facilities located, after several phone calls and failed attempts to find someone to “Fix me”, he goes in the house locks the door, this time he does leave me in the car. The next morning, I awake to the horrific memory of the day before. The house is unlocked and I stumble in to find he has packed his items, taken my car, and left a note that he was moving to his mothers house. I ventured up stairs, looked at the damage I had created the night before, walked into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. Since our marriage, I had gained almost 70 pounds, the sight looking back at me was half dressed, covered in her own vomit, eyes swollen, hair everywhere….she was a sad sad sight.

Maybe my husband was right, I was a piece of shit after all. Why had I left myself get to this extreme? Was I willing to die a tragic death and leave my kids with that memory? Was it worth it to try to be the person I knew I was in my heart? At that moment, I decided I was worth it, not the piece of trash he said I was and I made a commitment to prove him wrong. I walked to the phone, called our local AA hotline and within an hour I had a sponsor sitting in my home, holding me tight, while I cried my eyes out.